Monday, February 23, 2009

Author Davis Aujourd'hui Will Join the Podcast This Friday

To end our month of podcasts, we will offer an interview on February 27 with a new author whose first offering is both hilarious and a smart social commentary. Davis Aujourd'hui will be discussing The Misadventures of Sister Mary Olga Fortitude.

This novel, the first in a series, centers around a hard-drinking, chain smoking nun who shares the latest gossip on the colorful personalities in her town. As readers quickly learn, even those who portray an air of perfection have some ridiculous flaws. Through Sister Mary, we all learn about acceptance of others who live on the fringes of traditional society. Mr. Aujourd’hui will discuss the messages he tries to impart through Sister Mary and how they stem from lessons learned in his own life. Listeners also will learn what they can expect from the future books in the series.

Please check out Mr. Aujourd'hui's website here.

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Title of Document: Book Review
Book Title: The Misadventures of Sister Mary Olga Fortitude
Author: Davis Aujourd’hui
ISBN Number: 978-1-4327-3047-5
Genre and Target Market: fiction; humor; social commentary
Publication Date: 2009
Book Length in Pages: 155

When I reflect on the fictional nuns who have found their way into our collective consciousness through television and movies over the last fifty years, there seems to be the common thread of a dichotomous personality. These pious women are portrayed as kind-hearted servants of God and their communities, but also mischievous humans who are quite capable of less-than-holy behavior. Maria from The Sound of Music cared about those VonTrapp children, but she was known to be late to afternoon prayers. Sally Field was charming as The Flying Nun, but her unorthodox methods often had the Reverend Mother up in arms. And, of course, Whoopi Goldberg used her habit to hide from the mob during her turn as a nun in Sister Act. Davis Aujourd’hui adds another Sister to the roll call of memorable nuns in his new book The Misadventures of Sister Mary Olga Fortitude. With her alcohol-filled crucifix and Marlboro smoke signals sent straight to heaven as prayers, this sister will undoubtedly captivate your attention and have you turning the pages.

Sister Mary Olga speaks to the readers directly, with each of the chapters reading like the script from a classic radio broadcast. I doubt that many of the nun’s stories would have passed FCC scrutiny, however! She draws us in with opening remarks which immediately command our attention, like “T.L.I.A.M.G, my dears!” (the acronym standing for The Lord is a Mighty God) or “Now!” Then, she proceeds to share important lessons in Advanced Holiness using some of the residents of Bucksnort, Wisconsin, home of the Have a Heart convent, as the fodder for her tales. Readers of Sister Mary Olga Fortitude’s wise and unique perspective will quickly learn that no one is without a fascinating story to his or her name. Although you may never have discovered a body in the process of cremation as you tried to bake a cake or bore offspring who made inappropriate digestive noises while playing Baby Jesus in the annual Christmas pageant, I know that you will be able to relate to the flaws discussed by Sister Mary, albeit exaggerated, that are common to the human condition. Mr. Aujourd’hui’s inspired storytelling and fun use of words make each of these revelations all the more memorable.

Even while creating a hilarious cast of characters and series of events in which they are players, Aujourd’hui presents his readers with a serious commentary on the importance of tolerance and refraining from judgment. Through Sister Mary Olga Fortitude, he introduces us to people who are often considered outcasts in traditionally accepted society, from transgendered nuns and prostitutes to gay cowboys and morbidly obese women. While sharing their stories and secrets, Sister reminds us not to be critical of the unusual personalities we meet as the book unfolds. And, as reinforcement, she repeatedly confesses to her own shortcomings in terms of lust, gossip, and alcohol. The Misadventures of Sister Mary Olga Fortitude is a laugh-out-loud interpretation of the Golden Rule.

To further the point of the dangers to be found in judgment and narrow-mindedness, Aujourd’hui creates a group of women who are known as the Bunheads United Now organization (BUN). These ladies are known for their tight pulled-back hairstyle, which Sister Mary Olga points out is a hindrance to unimpeded brain functions. They are critical of anyone who does not fit the acceptable mold of behavior and they create superficial, seemingly perfect demeanors to hide their most personal doubts and insecurities. The leader of the BUN brigade, appropriately named Priscilla Bunhead, ends up on the receiving end of some vengeful scissors. Readers who have felt judged for their lifestyle or decisions will likely take some satisfaction out of this particularly amusing moment in the book.

The Misadventures of Sister Mary Olga Fortitude is a new release by Davis Aujourd’hui that presents a sharp and irreverent look at humanity. Offered through the lens of an unforgettable nun who knows everybody’s business but refrains from placing judgments (well, most of the time!), this novel is wonderful in its personality development and colorful language. And, as is promised on the book jacket, I am thrilled that more “misadventures” await those who quickly will become loyal readers. I have no doubt that Sister Mary Olga Fortitude has many more secrets to share and life lessons to teach, and I plan to be sitting in the front row.

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